The Children’s Book Review | December 23, 2017
The Smell of Other People’s Houses
Written by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
Age Range: 12 and up
Hardback: 240 pages
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books (2016)
What to expect: Coming of Age, Small town, Teen Life Issues
This exciting debut by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock will attract adult and teen readers alike with its startlingly beautiful prose and heart-wrenching stories.
THE SMELL OF OTHER PEOPLE’S HOUSES tells the stories of four teens in 1970’s Alaska. First is Ruth, a girl with no parents and a growing secret in her belly. Next is Dora, a strong young woman who escapes abuse and finds a place in a new family. Then there’s Alyce, a talented dancer who just might win a scholarship to college – if only she could let down her father and not help him on his fishing boat. Last is Hank and his two brothers, hiding on a ferry as they escape their mother and her boyfriend.
All of these stories intertwine in unique and unexpected ways. Hitchcock’s writing has an inescapable pull that draws the reader in. The characters dance off the page, pulling you along by your heartstrings. Each has a problem of varying severity (missing out on a dance scholarship does not equate surviving abuse), but Hitchcock paints each character so truthfully that you’ll find yourself invested in each one’s struggle. After all, many teens could relate to either story, and missing out on your dreams can feel like the end of the world when you’re seventeen. What I found irresistible about this book was the voice. Each character was clearly defined and so sympathetic, that I found myself tearing through the pages and finishing the book in record time.
An unexpected and phenomenal debut, THE SMELL OF OTHER PEOPLE’S HOUSES should be on everyone’s TBR list.
About The Author
Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock was born and raised in Alaska. She worked many years fishing commercially with her family and as a reporter for Alaska Public Radio stations around the state. She was also the host and producer of “Independent Native News,” a daily newscast produced in Fairbanks, focusing on Alaska Natives, American Indians, and Canada’s First Nations. Her writing is inspired by her family’s four generations in Alaska.
The Smell of Other People’s Houses, by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, was reviewed by Denise Mealy. Discover more books like The Smell of Other People’s Houses by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with Books Set In Alaska, Coming Of Age, and Young Adult Fiction.